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In Pictures: A split personality country market in Tennessee
By Tom Adkinson
September 23, 2022


LEIPER’S FORK, Tennessee – Outward appearances tell you that Leiper’s Fork is a country store and gas station with a few years’ wear on it. That’s true, but inside and amid the canned goods, beer cooler and better-than-average deli is a low-key history museum. Proprietor, preservationist and local developer Aubrey Preston, who guesses the building is perhaps 60 years old, hones that split personality. The market’s walls are decorated with historic photographs (including scenes near the beer cooler of revenuers breaking up stills), magazine articles and historic artifacts. Preston wants the market to be part of the connective tissue that keeps local history and people’s stories alive.


The outside view

leipers fork market
The Leiper’s Fork Market is in Williamson County south of Nashville on Old Hillsboro Road. It is just west of the few businesses that make up the tiny village of Leiper’s Fork. There’s no mistaking that this is a place for a fill-up, a cold drink and maybe some local conversation. There’s more than expected inside. Image by Tom Adkinson


Two guitar pickers

leipers fork guitar pickers
Nashville singer/songwriter Les Kerr channels country music legend Hank Williams, whose portrait is next to a cooler full of soft drinks. Williams once owned a sizeable home nearby, and his connection to the area is one of the market’s stories. The information about Williams includes two acoustic guitars that hang on the wall. You are welcome to strum a tune. Image by Tom Adkinson


Lunch table

communal dining table
A communal dining table surrounded by an assortment of painted ladder-back chairs is just inside the front door. A cut-glass chandelier adds a special touch to the experience of eating a deli sandwich and Little Debbie cupcakes with friends – or people who may become friends before the meal is done. Image by Tom Adkinson


History in a three-ring binder

leipers fork history
No docents are at the market to be your history guides, but the cashier will loan you a three-ring binder filled with old magazine articles, descriptions of various items on display and a map or two. You’ll eventually return with the binder, a little more educated and perhaps with a Moon Pie or an Icee to purchase if the Icee machine is working. Image by Tom Adkinson


Revenuers

Williamson County revenuers
Local historian Rick Warwick found this Prohibition-era photo of Williamson County revenuers for display in the market. The area around Leiper’s Fork had a moonshining reputation of significant size at one time. Image by Tom Adkinson

Five varieties of Vienna sausage

vienna sausage The variety of Vienna sausage and potted meat flavors on the shelves of the Leiper’s Fork Market leave no doubt that this is a genuine, out-in-the-country market. It’s as down home as you can get and still be only about 30 miles from Nashville’s honky tonks. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources: Facebook.com/leipersforkmarket, Nashville’s Big Back Yard and TNvacation.com

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on Amazon.com.



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